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Oscar Watch: The King's Speech's Helena Bonham Carter Could Win Best Supporting Actress

Thompson on Hollywood By Anne Thompson and Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood February 16, 2011 at 7:22AM

The King's Speech is an Oscar favorite, and depending on how strong it is, the Brit drama could carry some awards on its coattails. While Inception, The Social Network, True Grit and Alice in Wonderland could steal some wins from The King's Speech in the technical categories, recent BAFTA winner Helena Bonham Carter could score a supporting actress nod--in a wide open field including The Fighter's dueling Melissa Leo and Amy Adams, True Grit's young newcomer Hailee Steinfeld, and Animal Kingdom's 48-year Australian veteran Jacki Weaver--for her high-brow yet low-key performance as the future Queen Mum in The King's Speech.
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Thompson on Hollywood

The King's Speech is an Oscar favorite, and depending on how strong it is, the Brit drama could carry some awards on its coattails. While Inception, The Social Network, True Grit and Alice in Wonderland could steal some wins from The King's Speech in the technical categories, recent BAFTA winner Helena Bonham Carter could score a supporting actress nod--in a wide open field including The Fighter's dueling Melissa Leo and Amy Adams, True Grit's young newcomer Hailee Steinfeld, and Animal Kingdom's 48-year Australian veteran Jacki Weaver--for her high-brow yet low-key performance as the future Queen Mum in The King's Speech.

The witty Brit broke out in A Room with a View in 1985 (clip below), was nominated for best actress for another literary period piece, The Wings of the Dove in 1998, and starred in three films this year (her partner Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland as well as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1). She came across as the most soft-spoken and sincere participant at THR's December Actress Roundtable (see our collection of HBC videos, below). Always self-deprecating about her performances and adventurous fashion choices, during Awards season she has maintained the same cool composure and self-assuredness while never for a moment taking herself too seriously.

Bonham Carter was the crowd favorite in the Oscar Nominee Luncheon's interview room, where she said “Good morning everyone, are you having a nice time?” as she approached the podium, then took her shoes off: “I could do a Black Swan.” She said The King's Speech is “proving very fruitful and good for my career,” though she didn’t confirm what projects she has under consideration. Was she nervous to play the Queen Mother? “I wanted to play George because I thought that was the best part…then I thought Lionel, that’s the honest truth.” She had three weeks to rehearse. “I didn’t particularly look in the mirror and think, ‘God, I’m a dead ringer for the Queen Mother.’” But to answer the question: “It was daunting.” On what to expect from her Oscar night attire: “It’s probably going to be a catastrophe, but I’m going to go for it.”

THR Actress Roundtable:

BAFTA Best Supporting Actress Acceptance Speech:

The King's Speech Clip:

The King's Speech Clip:

Alice in Wonderland Clip:

And here is 19-year-old Bonham Carter in her first film, 1985's A Room With A View:

This article is related to: Awards, Directors, Genres, Headliners, Video, Oscars, BAFTA, Tim Burton, Tom Hooper, Period, Drama, Animation


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.